Author Topic: What is the correct price to gameplay-hour ratio?  (Read 1257 times)

Offline Wingflier

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What is the correct price to gameplay-hour ratio?
« on: February 09, 2018, 07:50:14 AM »
In my family the rule of thumb is $1 per each hour of gameplay. So a $60 game would ideally merit 60 hours of gameplay.

However, I think this is an extremely strict method. Online I saw people willing to pay $10 an hour, so a $60 game would ideally merit them 6 hours of gameplay time. Some people were even more generous than that.

Though I generally hate DLC with a passion, one nice element of DLC is that it allows people to invest more into a game when they realize they "owe" the developers more money because they've played it so much.

What is your ideal ratio?
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Offline TheVampire100

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Re: What is the correct price to gameplay-hour ratio?
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2018, 09:37:57 AM »
I find it kind of bizarre that people calculate the worth of  agame to the game time. While it makes sense to a degree, because you are stuck with the game for a long time, shouldn't be the main price influence be the quality and the gameplay fun of the game?
I rather look how much work the developers put into the game and if I had massive fun instead of having a game that I can play for 100 hours. But for some reason I recentl saw more and more people,t hat claimed, if a game is not lengthy enough, it's not worth investing money into.
Time plays for me a role too of course. I don't want to waste money on games that are simply too short. Good example? Abi.
This game was amazing ntil I noticed it was way too short. The price was also higher when I purchased it, I think they dropped the price because of tons of negative reviews.
The game simply is not complete, of course you could say that the ending was an ending ut it didn't feel like one because it left so many stuff unsolved in the game and so many questions unanswered. This is a good example of a game with good quality that ended too soon, probably to cut development time.

Some of my favourite games are quite short but cost more than you suggest (1$ per hour). I think that the logic behind that is already flawed. This was possible like... 10 years ago, but the investment costs of developing games has increased over time. Better graphics, higher salary for employees and of course inflation of money. The last one has actually stabilized a little after Trump was elected (in the US that is) but then dropped again shortly after.

I think a good rule is 10$ for a game about 2-4 hours long if the quality of the game is good and it was fun.

Also, there is a big reason why I don't trust game time anymore. Games liek Fortresscaft Evolved and Home have shown me, that you can stretch the gaming time quite largely if you manipulate the game mechanics. in terms of FCE it simply means that everything you want to build or produce costs a small fortune, so you are permanetely busy increasing the production or waiting for production to be finished. You can literally waste hours to wait for the required amount of items to be crafted to complete the next research project.
Belladonna icnreases the game time in another way, it simply makes the character move slow with no way to increase the speed and also makes every dialog unskipable, which is quite uncommon in modern adventure games. FCE at least has some good gameplay value but Belladonna falls flat through everything.
This taught me, don't rely on gaming time statistics, I still like to look how long a game takes to complete (I take more time anyway because I play very slowly most of the time) but I don't measure the game with it or how much it should cost. If a developer wanted to sell time, he always could find a way to make more artificially.
That's why I look on quality, good developers won't do this most of the time, they put more investment in making the game itself better/bigger instead of adding ways to stretch the time, so the player stucks longer with the game.
However, when a agme costs around 60$ and I rarely buy games that are this expensive, than I think they shoudl last longer than 2 hours, at least 10 hours shuld be a thing. This is  alot of money I invest and I think I deserve a game that I stick longer with.

Offline Draco18s

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Re: What is the correct price to gameplay-hour ratio?
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2018, 11:58:28 AM »
I think $1 per hour is a good ballpark estimate.
But things are going to be more nuanced than that, and it will vary game-by-game, but I'm not even going to consider a title at $60 unless I can be sure that that money is well spent:

Afterall, I'm going to have that game for a long, long time. If I only get 6 hours of enjoyment out of it (pretty much one day of binging) I'm going to come off of it a little sour: there was a nice Saturday afternoon, but now what do I do?

I've also noticed a trend (for me, at least) that the lower the base price of a game the longer the average play time. It's like there's an inverse relationship, which only further steers me away from the triple-A big-budget titles.

AI War, for example, was probably $10 or $20 (and I know I had a store-based coupon at the time) and I've gotten three hundred hours out of it.
Risk of Rain, probably $10, got one hundred and seventy hours.
Portal 2: thirty hours.
Deus Ex (Human Revolution): thirty hours.
Skyrim: nine.

Not always true, but all of the games I've spent more than 60 hours on have all been low budget indie titles. The only exception to this is probably Team Fortress 2, which is now free (and I considered it free, due to buying the Orange Box for Portal). So maybe the trend still holds?
« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 12:00:33 PM by Draco18s »

Offline Misery

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Re: What is the correct price to gameplay-hour ratio?
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2018, 01:24:56 PM »
I think $1 per hour is a good ballpark estimate.
But things are going to be more nuanced than that, and it will vary game-by-game, but I'm not even going to consider a title at $60 unless I can be sure that that money is well spent:

Afterall, I'm going to have that game for a long, long time. If I only get 6 hours of enjoyment out of it (pretty much one day of binging) I'm going to come off of it a little sour: there was a nice Saturday afternoon, but now what do I do?

I've also noticed a trend (for me, at least) that the lower the base price of a game the longer the average play time. It's like there's an inverse relationship, which only further steers me away from the triple-A big-budget titles.

AI War, for example, was probably $10 or $20 (and I know I had a store-based coupon at the time) and I've gotten three hundred hours out of it.
Risk of Rain, probably $10, got one hundred and seventy hours.
Portal 2: thirty hours.
Deus Ex (Human Revolution): thirty hours.
Skyrim: nine.

Not always true, but all of the games I've spent more than 60 hours on have all been low budget indie titles. The only exception to this is probably Team Fortress 2, which is now free (and I considered it free, due to buying the Orange Box for Portal). So maybe the trend still holds?

Yeah, this is one of the reasons why I steered away from AAA games.

I was paying just as much as ever, but rarely getting all that much time out of them.  The price stayed the same, but the quality continued to drop, and on top of that, instead of being filled with incredible gameplay they tended to just be filled with more and more cutscenes instead.   Spectacle over substance.

Whereas I can point to *a lot* of indie titles, typically priced at under 20, that have given me lots of hours.  Hundreds in many cases.   

My highest examples are:

Binding of Isaac Rebirth: 442 (that's NOT counting hours spent on the Switch version, iOS version, or the time spent playing it when on my laptop, which is usually offline because hotel wifi sucks)
Nuclear Throne: 289
Unexplored: 178
Bionic Dues: 123
AI War:  121
20XX: 117 (actual hours probably much higher, frequently gets used with the laptop)
Dungeons of Dredmor:  115
Enter the Gungeon: 103
Streets of Rogue: 97

(technically Starward and Last Federation also clock a bazillion hours but those don't count as some of that time was me working on them)

And that's just those.  I could keep going with other games that are likely to end up on that super high section of the list, like Cogmind or Dead Cells or Dont Starve (been out for quite awhile but I only recently dove into it).

But.... yeah I cant think of even one AAA game in the last few years that managed more than a handful of hours (aside from a couple of Nintendo's things, but they're hardly a traditional example here).  Yet they still cost that silly price.   The ONE that comes close is, Anno 2070.   I say "comes close" because I'm not actually sure it counts as AAA or not and I dont remember how much I paid for it originally (I dont think it was quite 60 though).   I do notice though that it's sequel DEFINITELY went into AAA territory.... and suffered massively because of it (seriously, it was bad. Very heavily dumbed down and had cut content... sigh...  I refuse to acknowledge it exists most of the time).


Now, as for DLC?   I can understand why some people hate DLC, but I think there's two types.   There's Greedy Publisher DLC, which is the sort that deserves hating.... it's what you get from unfinished games that have simply had bits chopped off of them so that the greedy jerks could sell it to you later.   And then there's *actual* DLC, which to me is always fine.  I buy plenty of DLC for the games I play... I just make sure that I think whatever is in it is good enough to warrant the cost.   That is, if it even HAS a cost.  Some games, their DLC tends to be totally free even if it's so big that it's like an expansion instead of a normal DLC.   Enter the Gungeon's Supply Drop update, for example, is a pretty big blob of content and balance changes and new modes and just lots of STUFF, yet was free.   Granted, whether it's free or not depends on ALOT of variables for the devs. Plenty of times it's absolutely not viable.  But still, that's pretty frequent for things to be free.   But you'll never, ever see the Big Guys do it.

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Re: What is the correct price to gameplay-hour ratio?
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2018, 01:54:36 PM »
I used to think a ratio of at least 1 hour per dollar was good, but after a while I realized that some games are just on a mission to waste your time. So nowadays game length is a secondary aspect I keep an eye on, but the main thing now is the quality of those hours instead.

Offline TheVampire100

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Re: What is the correct price to gameplay-hour ratio?
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2018, 02:37:19 PM »
Skyrim: nine.
How is that even possible? that woudl require to literally ignore any sidequest and just go for the main story. And while this is possible and valid to do, in my opinion it's the most aweful way to play th egame. Skyrim (any ESO game actually) is about exploring the world as you like and discovering new quests and dungeons on the way, not following strictly the plot line.

When it comes to game time, let's be honest, the biggest time sinks are actually FREE games. Why is that? Because these games work normally int he way, that either you spend money to et your progress as fast as possible or you have to work the hard way. This can be collectible card games, MMORPGs, shooter, strategy games, basically anything that is free and has some sort of currency or unlocks to achieve. My most played game to date is Dota 2 with over 2000 hours and while I spend less time now than before, i still play it and it does not seem I will stop anytime soon. Of course I spend money on that title too, probably around 200€ (maybe even more) so far which is a lot but if you value that alone against the amount of time invested, I have actually spent only 10 cents per hour. This woudl be a bargain if you would consider playtime alone. However, i also use the client for watching streams of pro players, especially during major torunaments I spend hours just to watch others play. However, i still consider this fun and I spend money on soemthign I enjoy, so I don't feel bad about it, even if it is a lot of money.
The reason I spend so much here is however, because it is not artifically hader to achieve something if you don't purchase anything. For example, League of Legends, which still has a larger playerbase, locks heroes behind a currency additionally to skins and other stuff, so if you want to become better or get better heroes, pay money or play tons of games until you unlock the hero you want.
Dota gives you everything for free, this also has the negative side ffect that it overwhelms new players but ont he plus side, it does not require any grind, you just play for fun. You can get items (skins) from drops or you pay for them. Some skins are moeny exclusive and I find that okay, even if not everyone agrees on that. If the rest of the game is free, I can understand, that some cosmetic changes are simpylk not and I have to pay for it, if I want my character to look special. I can see the amount of work put into the sets and honestly, they just look great most of the time.

My other games with long play times are also mostly free.
Talisman, AI War and XCOM are the most played games that cost full money with XCOM being the most expensive one wit all the DLCs released.

Offline Misery

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Re: What is the correct price to gameplay-hour ratio?
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2018, 03:40:49 PM »
How is that even possible? that woudl require to literally ignore any sidequest and just go for the main story. And while this is possible and valid to do, in my opinion it's the most aweful way to play th egame. Skyrim (any ESO game actually) is about exploring the world as you like and discovering new quests and dungeons on the way, not following strictly the plot line.

I can top that:  I think I have like 2 hours in it.

Got bored, you see.  Everyone wouldnt stop talking.  I dont need to hear your damn life story, just tell me how many rats need to be stabbed and let me get to it already!

Offline WolfWhiteFire

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Re: What is the correct price to gameplay-hour ratio?
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2018, 03:56:08 PM »
This topic was derailed fast. Personally, for me, the ratio is generally AT LEAST 2 hours per dollar, usually more.

I most enjoy either turn-based strategy games (Fire Emblem, XCOM, etc.), "grand strategy" games (Europa Universalis 4, Crusader Kings 2, etc.), or games with a good story line (especially if one of the other 2 is combined with it), and sometimes RPGs, generally two of those three main ones require a lot of time in order to be good at it, with the TBS games being the ones that don't necessarily need to be long.

Of course, there are many other factors to consider, but responding to the question asked, that is what I generally like in terms of hours per dollar.

Offline Misery

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Re: What is the correct price to gameplay-hour ratio?
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2018, 05:50:39 PM »
This topic was derailed fast.


Arcen forums.  Of COURSE it was derailed.

The tracks were broken right from the start.  And conveniently right next to a cliff.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: What is the correct price to gameplay-hour ratio?
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2018, 09:35:19 PM »
The tracks were broken right from the start.  And conveniently right next to a cliff.
If the left and right rail are even in the same dimension, that's an uncommonly good start.
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Offline Draco18s

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Re: What is the correct price to gameplay-hour ratio?
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2018, 11:27:20 PM »
Skyrim: nine.
How is that even possible? that woudl require to literally ignore any sidequest and just go for the main story. And while this is possible and valid to do, in my opinion it's the most aweful way to play th egame. Skyrim (any ESO game actually) is about exploring the world as you like and discovering new quests and dungeons on the way, not following strictly the plot line.

I got as far as beating up my first wyvern dragon and stopped giving a shit.

The tracks were broken right from the start.  And conveniently right next to a cliff.
If the left and right rail are even in the same dimension, that's an uncommonly good start.

Ha! I got a good chuckle out of that.

Offline WolfWhiteFire

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Re: What is the correct price to gameplay-hour ratio?
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2018, 07:20:00 AM »
Quote from: keith.lamothe on Yesterday at 08:35:19 PM
Quote from: Misery on Yesterday at 04:50:39 PM
The tracks were broken right from the start.  And conveniently right next to a cliff.
If the left and right rail are even in the same dimension, that's an uncommonly good start.

Well I can't argue with that, though with this one it is more like an astro train immediately rammed it off the rails and shot it a few hundred times just to be sure.

Offline Toranth

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Re: What is the correct price to gameplay-hour ratio?
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2018, 08:20:11 AM »
Amusingly, I was just thinking about this earlier this morning.  See, I just played Tacoma.

Tacoma retails on Steam of $19.99.  On sale, it's been as low as $9.99.  I got it as part of the last Humble Monthly Bundle, which makes it hard to value, but somewhere between $2-3, weighting for interest.
The game is just 3 hours long with no replay value.

I'm disappointed in the game, even though it was cheap.  It has interesting and innovative mechanics/gameplay and has a decent story, too.  But it was so short and shallow that I suspect any non-free price would have left me unhappy.
In that same bundle was Owlboy - a platformer/Metroidvania style game.  It's not even 10 hours long (without collectibles).  It has a very simple story, and basic, traditional, mechanics.  But I'm happy with it, because although it was short and simple, it was a lot more FUN than Tacoma. 

I suppose I just have to echo some of the rest of you:  $1 per hour is a nice criteria to think about when evaluating games for a potential purchase, but it's very unreliable based on after the fact ratings.  In fact, it's bad enough that I really should stop considering it... but I know I will next time, too.

Offline TheVampire100

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Re: What is the correct price to gameplay-hour ratio?
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2018, 11:59:16 AM »
I got as far as beating up my first wyvern dragon and stopped giving a shit.

I guess there are not many people in this forum, that actually liek Skyrim. That's a shame.

Offline Draco18s

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Re: What is the correct price to gameplay-hour ratio?
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2018, 04:46:23 PM »
I got as far as beating up my first wyvern dragon and stopped giving a shit.
I guess there are not many people in this forum, that actually liek Skyrim. That's a shame.

I wanted to like it, but I couldn't progress. Because I'd screwed up my "get some gear from this prison cell" armor selection had been trying to upgrade from "light" to "heavy" and couldn't find any heavy armor, but the mixed set was screwing up the skill point stuff.

So the enemies between me and every quest I had open would borderline one-hit-kill me.

My options were:
1) Mod the game and grind blacksmithing and make armor (ha! no)
2) Complete a stupidly hard quest line to get daedric armor (ha! no)
3) Exploit the stealth skill overnight (...just no)

That combined with a few other things and I just stopped caring.